Five Samples Used By Just Blaze That We Absolutely Love
Sampling has always held a special place in hip-hop. Producers like Just Blaze (born Justin Smith) are the ones who have made this possible by taking older records and flipping them into new, creative ideas for listeners to enjoy. In a career that spans a little over a decade, the Paterson, New Jersey native has worked with the likes of Jay Z, Kanye West, Eminem, and T.I., and in every instance he’s delivered incredible production that has earned him respect and acclaim from peers and critics alike.Aside from his signature drop on songs—which is appropriately him shouting out his name—Just Blaze is best recognized for his sampling of ‘70s soul records, something Kanye West was known for earlier in his production career. Just Blaze has an amazing ear for selecting these records too, which shows just how knowledgeable the veteran producer truly is when it comes to music. We’ve highlighted five samples he’s used in the past that hold up on their own, as well as why they work so well with the songs Just Blaze ended up producing. You can thank us later for expanding your music catalog.
1. Curtis Mayfield, "Move On Up"
Just Blaze and Kanye West both came up as in-house producers for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s. There they played significant roles in shaping the musical landscape for Jay Z and his roster of rappers. West branched out as an artist soon after, and it only made sense that the two would reunite once again, this time Just Blaze playing the soulful conductor for the Chicago rapper on his 2005 single “Touch the Sky” featuring Lupe Fiasco. The song samples Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up,” a jubilant funk tune that just as easily inspires its listeners to strive for greatness as it makes them want to dance. Just Blaze’s transparent use of the slowed down horn sample goes to show just how timeless Mayfield’s 1970 record really is.
2. Rose Royce, "I'm Going Down"
Just Blaze was the man behind the boards for Harlem rapper Cam’ron’s 2002 breakout single “Oh Boy.” The record was a bubbly collaboration with Cam’s close Dipset associate Juelz Santana, and it sampled “I’m Going Down” by Rose Royce. The irony here is that while “Oh Boy” was all about toasting to your successes, “I’m Going Down” innocently captures heartbreak with a whole lot of soul. And yet, Just Blaze pulled the connection off seamlessly. Rose Royce would be proud.
3. Tom Brock, "There's Nothing In This World That Can Stop Me From Loving You"
Jay Z’s 2001 single “Girls, Girls, Girls” was the perfect balance of hip-hop with pop appeal. The song delivers a sweet and soulful tone, with Jay Z rapping about his affinity for the opposite gender. The veteran Brooklyn MC was able to capture this vibe thanks to Just Blaze, who took Tom Brock’s wonderful 1974 record “There’s Nothing In This World That Can Stop Me from Love You” and turned it into a modern ode to women across the world. The listener can distinctly hear Brock’s sped-up vocals on “Girls, Girls, Girls,” which is the audible icing on the cake here.
4. Lamont Dozier, "Put Out My Fire"
Just Blaze may be best known for his contributions to rap, but that doesn’t mean he shies away from working with artists in other genres. A superb example of this is his remix for Faith Evans on “Burnin Up,” where the veteran producer took the R&B singers’ upbeat single and gave it an extra touch of soul by sampling Lamont Dozier’s “Put Out My Fire.” Released in 1974, the record is a call to those who have a burning passion for love, with Dozier crooning about his affections over swaying strings and funky drums.
5. Billy Stewart, "Cross My Heart"
Within the last five years, New Orleans rapper Jay Electronica has gone from relatively unknown to one of hip-hop’s most lauded acts, and he hasn’t even released an album yet. Electronica’s crossover came on his 2009 single “Exhibit C,” which is widely regarded as one of the best beats that Just Blaze has ever made. The song samples “Cross My Heart” by Billy Stewart, a soulful tune that illustrates one man’s pursuit for true love. It’s a theme that many can relate to, and Stewart’s hearty vocals sampled in the background of Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C” takes this record to another level.
May 05, 2014 via Pepsi